The Wisdom of Pinhead: Part Four
“He sees you when you’re sleeping; he knows when you’re awake …”*
Last year for Christmas, I blogged about my favourite part of Hellraiser V: Inferno. I talked about how Pinhead’s dark, scary message was really a cautionary Christmas tale – avoid superficiality and selfishness and embrace what really matters, or, you know, pay horribly forever. I realized afterward that Pinhead has always had some very Christmas-y things to say … when seen in the right light. So this year, I will be presenting a Pinhead-Christmas-personal empowerment-happy-joy-countdown. At the end of it, I hope readers – Christian and non-Christian alike – are more disposed to find the love and joy the Christmas holiday represents.
And maybe they’ll want to watch the movies too.
Kirsty Cotton: I’ve come for my father!
[the Cenobites laugh at that]
Pinhead: But he is in his own Hell, child, and quite unreachable.
Kirsty Cotton: I don’t believe you!
Pinhead: But it’s true. He is in his own Hell, just as you are in yours.
Only in life can we suffer; after our death, our troubles are over, as they say. But this doesn’t mean that life is only suffering – quite the opposite: life is also beautiful and wondrous and good. In this quote, Pinhead reveals that his “Hell” is for the living, that his “clients” choose consciously to open the box while alive, and bring Hell upon themselves with their own actions and desires … and after they’re dead, they will be as far from Pinhead’s reach as all those who avoided the box and its delights entirely.
What does this mean for you and me? It means that we make our hells for ourselves. It means that we really don’t know what happens after we’re dead, until we die. It means that, just as life can be suffering, it can also be joy, or despair, or loss, or bliss – and that, far more than we usually realize, what life is for each of us is under our own control.
It also means that, whether we like it or not, whether we believe or not, whatever thing we may believe in, absolutely none of us knows – really knows – what’s waiting for us after that last breath. Some of us have glimpses, some of us see wonders that give us some comfort, but in the end, even Hell doesn’t know what happens. In the end, we’ll just have to accept that death is a mystery … because if we don’t, that lingering fear of death and its uncertainty will turn us into little, stressed-out globules of anger who are always quarreling with one another to distract ourselves from our own worry.
Kind of like the way we already do it.
So maybe for the holidays – or all year round, if we feel we’re up to it – we can reorganize some of our burdens. We can agree to be in charge of our own lives here – to accept the consequences of our actions, to recognize that so very often we make our own pain and suffering. We can stop wasting our living moments searching for death, and instead allow whatever god may exist to be in charge of the afterlife. We can stop creating Hell on earth in all manner of creative ways, and instead let Pinhead be in charge of Hell.
He seems to doing a much fairer job of it than we do.
* “Santa Claus is comin’ to town” by Coots and Gillespie